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Medication Safety: What Patients Should Know About Prescribed Medication

  • November 14, 2015
  • 5 min read
Medication Safety: What Patients Should Know About Prescribed Medication

When prescribed medication by a trusted doctor or medical professional, it can be quite common to assume that it is safe to take. Though your doctor is educated in health and medicine and prescribes them with the hopes of treating your health issues, it is still important for patients to conduct research on their own. Medication is created with the intent of having a reaction in the body. That being said, there is the possibility that certain medications can have an adverse effect on the body that you weren’t aware of or prepared for..

compound drugs

Aren’t Medications Tested?

Yes. Medication is sent through a rigorous set of testing mandated by the Food and Drug Association prior to being available to the general public. Though there are clinical studies and trials that help to point out the common side effects, there is still the potential that something could go wrong. As the Heard Robbins drug recall lawyers state, sometimes newer medications are not tested as they should be, leaving room for defects and unrecorded side effects.

In short, conducting your own research and asking questions about prescribed medications is an added layer of protection for your overall health and safety. Below are a few factors you want to know before taking medication. You can conduct research through the internet or speak with your doctor or pharmacist to get more detailed information.

  1. The Purpose of the Drug

Some medications can have more than one purpose. When a doctor gives you a script it is important for you to ask why it has been prescribed to you. You want to know what the medication is supposed to treat so that you can properly research the effects it might have on you as it pertains to the specific medical diagnosis.

  1. How the Drug Works

To ensure that the medication is in adherence to your treatment you also want to know how the medication works. Your doctor may provide you with reading materials or may choose to give a verbal explanation for how the medication will work.

  1. How to Take the Medication

Don’t assume that you know how to take the medication prescribed to you as each drug can have a different set of rules. The proper dosing and timing of the drug is necessary for optimal results and to ensure your safety. Your doctor should write these instructions down on the script and they will appear on the medication when you retrieve it from the pharmacy. However, feel free to ask things like, should it be taken with food? How often should it be taken? Does it need to be swallowed or can it be chewed?

  1. Instructions for Missing a Dose

No one is perfect, and it can be fairly easy to remember to take your medication. If this is the case, you want to know what you should do to make up for the missed dose. Some medications will require you taking the missed dose as soon as possible, while others might require you to double up on the next dose. Since it can vary you want to clarify this information with the pharmacist or your doctor.

  1. Side Effects

There is a potential for side effects from most medications and you want to be aware of what they are prior to taking your medicine. Find out what the side effects from the medication might be so that you can recognize, prevent, and act on them when necessary. When inquiring about side effects, be sure that you get specifics and not just the general ones. Though you hope you don’t end up with extreme side effects you do want to be prepared for the possibility.

  1. Chemical Interactions

Certain foods, drinks, and medications can cause a chemical reaction that results in adverse side effects. You need to know how the medication will affect you in the event that you take other medications, drink alcohol, or eat certain foods. Knowing how certain things will interact with the medication can prevent you from taking something that can cause more harm to your health. If you are taking medication that your doctor or pharmacist is unaware of (over the counter or prescribed) be sure to bring this point up before taking the medication. This is the only way they can give you an accurate description of things to steer clear of.

  1. Storing the Medication

To prevent unnecessary side effects from medication it is important that you have stored it properly. While most medications simply require being stored at room temperature, others might require refrigeration to prevent the drug from deteriorating prematurely.

  1. Tests and Monitoring

Depending on the medication you’ve been prescribed you may need to be carefully monitored with tests and frequent checkups. Be sure to talk this over with your doctor to determine how often you’ll need to be tested.

Medicine is certainly beneficial to those who need it. However, because every medical patient is different, medication can have a different effect on their overall health. Though your doctor may have prescribed something to you it is always best to be safe by following up with your own research and questions. The more you know about the medications, the better equipped you are with information to ensure your health stays intact. 

Article by Jennifer Smith

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